September 1, 2020

FROM TODAY’S MNM: Harrison county officials reported five new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the county’s total number of active coronavirus cases to 24.

Harrison County Judge Chad Sims reported zero new cases on Sunday and five new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the county since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to 800.

Of those 800 total cases this year, 741 have recovered, 35 have resulted in fatalities and 24 active cases remain.

Marion county officials did not report any additional cases throughout the weekend or on Monday.

Marshall ISD officials on Monday also reported one of its five cases since the start of the school year has now recovered, leaving four active cases across the district.

FROM JOHNS HOPKINS:1. Clinical Characteristics and Viral RNA Detection in Children With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in the Republic of Korea (JAMA) In this case series of 91 children with COVID-19 in Korea, 22.0% were asymptomatic. Only 8.5% of symptomatic cases were diagnosed at the time of symptom onset, while 66.2% had unrecognized symptoms before diagnosis and 25.4% developed symptoms after diagnosis; SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected for a mean of 17.6 days overall and 14.1 days in asymptomatic cases. Inapparent infections in children may have been associated with silent COVID-19 transmission in the community. Heightened surveillance using laboratory screening will allow detection in children with unrecognized SARS-CoV-2 infection.

2. Colleges With Covid Outbreaks Advised to Keep Students on Campus(Bloomberg) A consensus is building among public health experts that it’s better to keep university students on campus after a Covid-19 outbreak rather than send them home as many are doing. It’s easier to isolate sick or exposed students and trace their contacts if they stay put, said Ravina Kullar, epidemiologist and spokesperson for Infectious Diseases Society of America. Sending students home risks exposing other people there as well as along the way, and makes contact tracing all but impossible.

3. Looking to Reopen, Colleges Become Labs for Coronavirus Tests and Tracking Apps(New York Times) The fall of 2020 will go down as a period of profound experimentation at colleges and universities transformed into hothouse laboratories. They are trying out wastewater tests, dozens of health-check apps and versions of homegrown contact technologies that log student movement and exposure risk. And they are experimenting with different testing methods that might yield faster results and be easier to administer, such as using saliva instead of nasal swabs. Like small island nations with discrete populations, many universities are using methods that cities, states and nations often cannot. The colleges have some authority over relatively captive communities, which are made up of students largely at ease with new technology. Plus, the schools have profound motivation: Their very economic survival depends on people coming to campus safely.

4.Vir and GlaxoSmithKline Begin Pivotal Study of Covid-19 Antibody Drug (STAT News) Vir Biotechnology, a San Francisco-based firm focused on infectious disease, and GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug giant, said Monday that they are beginning a study of an antibody drug aimed at treating Covid-19. The study will enroll 1,300 patients around the world who have early symptomatic infection, and will test whether the treatment, VIR-7831, can prevent those patients from being hospitalized. The companies said that they expect initial clinical results of the study by the end of 2020, meaning that the treatment, if effective, might be available for emergency use in early 2021.

5.REINFECTION After researchers in Hong Kong published details of a COVID-19 patient who appears to have been infected twice, with different strains of the virus, a team of US researchers report evidence that a COVID-19 patient in Nevada was also reinfected. The patient, a 25-year-old male, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in late April and was discharged following 2 negative diagnostic tests. He then tested positive again approximately 1 month later. The researchers indicate (preprint) that, like the patient in Hong Kong, genetic analysis of the specimens from the Nevada patient indicated that he was infected with 2 different strains of SARS-CoV-2. This is the first documented instance of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in the US. One notable difference between the Hong Kong patient and Nevada patient is the severity of their second infection. The Hong Kong patient was asymptomatic when he was identified via screening upon arrival in Hong Kong, whereas the Nevada patient experienced much more severe disease during his second infection. While it still appears that reinfection is relatively rare, researchers will inevitably identify more cases. With tens of millions of cases, many of whom recovered from their initial infection months ago, we will certainly hear about more reinfections in the coming months. As more examples of reinfection are identified, researchers will aim to answer critical questions, some of which could provide critical insight into the efficacy of future vaccines. (J. Harris: Reinfection with COVID 19 is worrisome. Hopefully, it will remain uncommon).

MEDICAL NOTE: Physicians and Clinics seem to be doing a nice job of protecting patients from COVID during routine clinic visits and checkups. We talked about vaccinations (Tdap) and Flus shots recently. When have you had your blood pressure checked or had a virtual or face to face doctor’s appointment? Be careful not to let something sneak up on you. Keep your medicine refilled. Don’t ignore routine medical matters now that the crisis is under control. Keep your kids and grandkids vaccinated, even if you have to ignore your Norweigan housekeeper types.

“I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me, than a prefrontal lobotomy” (from Mark Lee, our Hawaiian reader).

Growing old should have taken longer.

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